Cédric Fèvre, who is hiding behind his rifle, is a formidable shooting champion. He was born with spina bifida, a rare birth defect of the spine that results in paralysis of the lower limbs, loss of feeling and cognitive impairment. But through training and willpower, he reached a very high level.
At 37, he has only one obsession, aiming for the heart of the target located 10 m away. He has a technical gesture and an extreme concentration because everything is played to the tenth of a millimeter.
“It takes a lot of concentration, emotional management, he explains afterwards it’s a very technical discipline, it’s really something that I like. For rifle shooting, we use the same equipment as for able-bodied people, we have an air rifle, we shoot with pellets, we have a made-to-measure jacket, we have the strap that allows us to support the weight of the rifle in prone shooting, and we have a shooting glove to protect the hand “.
In competition, the rules are also the same for valid shooting, 50 minutes to shoot 60 pellets. The only difference is the position. In prone shooting, disabled athletes are seated in their armchairs, equipped with a tablet on which they can rest their elbows.
Gold medalist in London
He has 17 international finals and one consecration, the gold medal at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012. A memory engraved in his memory, but also in that of his parents …
“His first medal, I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much, as that day confided his mother. It was very strong, when you see his little piece of cabbage, where he left, it’s such a reward for him and all his efforts, we were proud of him “.
It’s a great reward after a journey strewn with hardships. During the first years of his life, Cédric underwent 14 surgeries, especially on his spine. Despite the motor disorders and balance problems linked to his handicap, his parents always encouraged him to play sports: swimming, pony, bicycle … At 10 years old, he discovered rifle shooting, a revelation and the beginning of a long career.
“They have always encouraged me, accompanied me, it happens. This strength I owe them to them, it helped me to accept all the difficulties”.
Train to stay at the highest level
The champion spends at least 4 hours a week in a weight room, with Miguel his physical trainer for 6 years. The key point of his sessions is the strengthening of the upper body, essential to stay stable while firing a rifle.
Miguel Ruiz, Creps Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, physical trainer: “As soon as he starts to tire, he will tremble and the more toned he is, the stronger he will be, the longer he will be able to hold out.” He needs support at the level of the trunk, at the level of the legs and feet, it is all this chain that we want to work so that it is solid “.
Cedric can’t walk for more than a few minutes, but once seated on a bike he can pedal painlessly.
“I have a handicap which allows me to practice cycling, explains Cédric,” it is a pleasure rather than a difficulty. My calves do not work so I only work on the quadriceps in fact “.
This targeted work on the legs is also beneficial for his shooting performance. Shooting, more than a passion, has enabled Cédric to push the limits of handicap even further. In a few weeks, he should fly to the Tokyo Paralympics to win new medals.
If you want to know more about this rare disease you can go to the National Spina Bifida Association website at the following address: Spina-bifida.org.